Saturday, 20 December 2014

Heading Home

The first leg of my return back home.  Ted will keep you entertained whilst I'm in flight.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Santa's Sack

Santa and the elves are loading up the sleigh ready for that annual journey around the world.  Those NASA folks could learn a lot from them about efficient time travel.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Play a Merry Tune

There are the carol singers, the brass bands and those same old songs like I saw mummy kissing santa last night.  Which ones drive you crazy and which ones do just love at this time of the year?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Monday, 15 December 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ted counts beans

Cacao (cocoa) beans that is .. the little gems that give life to chocolate, the world’s favourite confectionery. We love it so much we spend more than 20 billion dollars every year on chocolate and chocolate products.  The Mayans and the Aztecs had it all pretty much to themselves for a long time. In fact, they considered the beans so valuable that they used them as a currency. Naturally as long as there has been currency there have been counterfeits, and their's were made of terracotta.

Christopher Columbus and then the Spanish Conquistadors whisked the beans back to Spain where they proceeded to make “xocolatl” (bitter water) in the Aztec fashion. They sweetened it up with honey and a few herbs and introduced it into the Austrian royal courts in the early 17th century, where it gained immediate favour, and within 100 years it was widespread throughout Europe.

From that time to this chocolate has seduced human kind and been accorded fabulous powers – it has the ability to make us feel good, fight tooth decay, help prevent heart attacks,  increase IQs, why it even acts as an aphrodisiac apparently.  However, supposedly this only really applies to the 70% cacao plus level of dark chocolate, and not the sugar laden impersonators that inhabit our supermarket shelves.  Sadly "white" chocolate, like common sense, just “isn’t”.

So it was with high hopes of a sensory experience that I headed off to the London chocolate festival, where the purveyors of all things that you can make from chocolate (and quite a number you can’t) were gathered to let us experience and purchase their wares.

I started with a choux pastry filled with chocolate praline crème, accompanied by a Bailey’s Belgium chocolate liqueur. After a few moments of over excitement I calmed down and took in the surroundings.  There were chocolate stalls with chocolates goodies in all shapes and sizes from all over, chocolate baubles for the Christmas tree, chocolate making and tasting classes, and even chocolate art. As if that wasn’t enough there was a Christmas market filled with things that any good chocoholic should have like chocolate moulds, fondue pots, and knives for cutting chocolate. Phew ... Oh I almost forgot to add, chocolate also has life-saving powers. Well it did for Milton Hershey anyway when he had to cancel his trip on the Titanic due to chocolate related business … 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Mills

Was Victoria Mills perhaps once part of the silk trade that was a big part of the East End?  I have not been able to find any information.  Now they are trendy apartments.  Anyone who knows something of this street do let us know what the history was. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Here Be Dragons

There I was exploring the "edge" - it was getting late and I really ought to be heading back.  Strange out here - and then I stumbled upon the cold blooded centre, where they even claim to have dragons.  I'll venture inside during daylight hours.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Ted goes to market

Kings Cross, once a place of danger, drugs, depravity, degenerates, and dubious dealings … well so goes the urban myth. But what was once a place to be avoided is now the “in” place to be.  Pourquoi? … the regeneration of what was considered to be a couple of the main reasons for its degeneration … Kings Cross and St Pancras railway stations!!  St Pancras is a marvellous piece of restored Victorian architecture (I can’t bring myself to use the word “beautiful" when referring to most red brick Victorian architecture, as it always looks to me like it wouldn't be out of place in a Grimm’s Brothers child frightening “fairy tale”). While Victorian era, Kings Cross station is actually a very handsome honey coloured brick station, and yes, it may be my London favourite.

These two are among 20 historic buildings being restored that has led to Kings Cross being named one of England’s best heritage led developments.  That’s great Ted, but it’s hardly enough to make it hipster territory is it.  Well quite the contrary it seems, they are coming from near and far to be part of it all. Among the many, there’s the early arriver, St Martins university of arts, and even Google turns up soon .. The area is now part of what is considered “midtown” that is home to all the cool professions like design, media, entertainment, and funky new generation versions of uncool old stuff like lawyers and solicitors.  The first signs were there a while ago when a greasy spoon café was replaced by an organic vegan Japanese restaurant. But you haven’t really arrived as destination and until you have your own “real food market” … and now Kings Cross has one.

It’s full of stall holders with great real food for our enjoyment. I went along and tried a few of the things on offer.  The very cold looking stall holders had wares that included organic veggies, cheese, bread, teas, honey, all sorts of ethnic cuisine, oils, charcuterie from pigs fed on acorns, meat, fish, pates, and brownies in a multitude of flavours from chai latte, peanut butter brittle, and bacon & maple syrup with candied bacon topping (no I didn’t make that up) and tarts … well of course there would be tarts in Kings Cross wouldn't there…

Saturday, 6 December 2014

By Royal Appointment

Not one, nor two, but three royal warrants.  That is all of them! Saville row tailors Ede & Ravenscroft have been dressing the hoy polloi since 1689, the oldest in the game.  They'll even attend to your wig or organise a photographer for ceremonial occasions.
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